Finding Your Personal Motivation

Personal motivation is fundamental to your personal success both in sales, in business and in life in general. Given its obvious importance you’d think that people would be experts at motivating themselves wouldn’t you? Unfortunately this is often not the case. I believe that the reason for this is the general belief that people are either motivated or they’re not.

Most directors, business owners and individuals that I work with believe (before we’ve worked together) that you can’t teach motivation. Well, if there’s nothing you can do about it, why bother right?


Some people may be naturally more motivated than others. Some people have learned to be more motivated than others. Some people have been brought up in environments where self-motivation is encouraged and fostered. Some people will be able to self-motivate far easier than others…

But remember, although changing your current habits might be difficult it is possible.

Think what it would mean to you if you were more motivated to succeed, more hungry for success and more driven on a day to day basis. What could you achieve if you had more energy, more vitality and more drive?

Here are 10 strategies to help you…

1. Know why its important to you.

One of the biggest challenges with motivation is that people try and motivate themselves to do things that they are frankly just not interested in. Have a look at the things you struggle to get motivated to do. How many of them do you actually care about?

Many salespeople adopt the targets, goals and aspirations of their managers but are these genuinely what they want? Quite possibly not. When I work with salespeople and business owners one of the questions I always ask is, “Why is this important to you?” As we go through life most of us forget why we are doing things. We get stuck on the 9-5 treadmill going to work because we think we should rather than because we actually want to achieve anything.

Many people think they ought to increase their activity levels but they consistently fail to do so. Ask yourself, “Why is this important to me? What will I get when I achieve this? What will happen if I don’t achieve this?”

If you’re starting to get some great answers, build on them. If you’re struggling a bit, get persistent. If you have utterly no idea then consider whether this goal is actually important to you!

2. Have written and specific goals.

Motivated people set goals. Motivated people have goals. Take time out right now and write yourself 10 year, 5 year, 3 year, 1 year, 6 month and 3 month goals. Read a book on goal setting. Check out SMART goal setting and Well Formed Outcomes from the field of neuro-linguistic programming (NLP).

Buy yourself a log book or a diary and start recording your goals. Capture them, study them, refine them. Take the time to visualise them and take them for a “test drive” in your head. The more time you put into them, the more real they will become for you. The more real they are for you, the more your unconscious mind will seek to attain them for you.

3. Set mini-targets and stepping stones.

Work out what the milestones are on your way to achieving your goals. Write them down and plan them into your route to success. In today’s society most of us seek early gratification. Few people are prepared to sweat away with the rewards nowhere in sight. Make things easy for yourself as a newbie goal setter and check your progress early.

When I set out to write my first book I broke it down into tiny bitesize segments. Each of these was allocated a start and a finish time. Only by setting mini-targets and stepping stones can you see where you are in relation to your goal.

4. Treat yourself for a job well done.

What would you do when your dog behaves well? What would you do when your child behaves well under difficult circumstances? What did your parents and teachers do when you behaved in the way they wanted you to?


People thrive on recognition and reward whether it’s from others or from ourselves. We know this! Why then is it that, as grown ups, we think that we can stop rewarding ourselves and stay motivated?

Few people work well in a vacuum and few can work well without rewards. Rewards do not have to be financial and they do not have to be big to work.

Action point: Create a list of 100 cheap and easy rewards that you can use to acknowledge to yourself that you have done a good job?

5. Reward activity not just results.

Most sales managers, directors and owner reward results. Whilst I applaud this practise, it should not be the only way. As sales professionals we should reward ourselves for activity not just results.

Imagine you have two sales people on your team. A works incredibly hard, has the right attitude and has consistent activity. B however is a bit of a slacker, has the wrong attitude and inconsistent activity. A, through a piece of bad luck, misses target but B, through a contact of a mate, swings in a lucky deal.

Clearly B has to get his commission but shouldn’t A get something too?

If you don’t reward A you have just rewarded B for all of the behaviours you don’t want and given nothing to the A the employee doing all of the right things. Hmmmm.

Task: Think about ways that you can reward activity as well as results in your team.

6. Make it easier to feel good than to feel bad.

In my role I meet thousands of individuals every year and I am always amazed how difficult people make it for themselves to feel happy. Ask yourself what has to happen for you to feel good? What has to happen for you to feel successful? Most people have a list as long as their arm (and then some)!

Now ask yourself what has to happen for you to feel bad? Most lists have tiny little things like … one client being rude to us or one lost deal. That set up is never going to work is it!

You need to make it easier to feel good than to feel bad. That way you know that you’re going to be able to stay on top form and focused. Long ago I decided that my criteria for feeling good was to wake up in the morning! Now, I know it’s not guaranteed but so far I’m doing pretty well.

Have a think about what rules you have for feeling good and feeling bad and manipulate them to help you feel good every day.

7. Make a list of everything that you are tolerating and get rid of it.

What do you tolerate in your life? The dictionary defines toleration as the process or practise of enduring or permitting. In other words, putting up with stuff that we don’t like!

What stuff do you tolerate in your life? Make a list of stuff that you’re tolerating – you’ll be amazed quite how much stuff there is. The first time I did this exercise there were literally hundreds of things on my list. Letting go of them was exhilarating.

Remember: Whilst a portion of you is tolerating stuff you are not totally focused on what you want to achieve.

8. Think of a time when you were motivated. Work out why and replicate it.

Take a few moments and think of three times in your life that you were totally motivated. Not slightly motivated or half- motivated but really, truly 100% motivated.

What motivated you? Why were you motivated? How did you get motivated? How did it feel to be motivated? What could you do if you felt like this all of the time?

When you have worked out how you got motivated practise replicating it. This ability to get motivated and “up for it” will help you to achieve more in your life than you ever thought possible.

9. Take control of your emotions.

Most people pretend that what goes on inside themselves has little to do with their behaviour and the results that they are getting. Most people are wrong.

Think about a day when everything went well… were you in control of your emotions? You bet you were. Emotional control is fundamental to sales and business success. If you cannot control your own emotions you will always struggle to motivate and inspire others – whether that’s motivating them to work, to buy, to build a team or to reach for more.

Now think about a day when everything went wrong… how did your emotional control differ? How does your emotional state affect you on a day when everything is going wrong? Doesn’t help at all, does it?

Start now to pay more attention to your emotions. Start to control them more effectively and you will start to get better results.

10. Surround yourself with motivational people, books and audios.

Someone once said that you become most like the people that you spend the most time with. I believe they were right. If you hang around with negative, “mood-hoovers”, “wanabees”, “whingers”, “whiners” and “moaners” guess what you’re most likely to become?

Spend your time with motivated, successful achievers however and you will take a major step to catapulting yourself to sales success.

But Gavin, what if I don’t know any motivated, successful people?

Great question! When I first uncovered this concept and I decided to use it to lift my game I had a bit of a problem because I didn’t know anyone who had the values, beliefs and attitudes that I was looking for so I created my own “virtual” support team. I read, listened to and watched the motivational superstars in books, audios and DVD programmes.

Action: What can you do to create your own real and virtual success team right now?

So, there you are, 10 personal motivation strategies to help you to get fired up and feeling great. For more tips and strategies like these make sure that you are signed up to my free success newsletter.

About the author: Gavin Ingham
Gavin Ingham is a speaker and author on mental toughness and will help you to Be More, Do More & Have More in your business and in your life. For all of the latest news, podcasts, videos, tips and strategies join his newsletter. Sign up to the newsletter
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